Another Spike in Foreclosures is Expected

Tulare County Nearly every day, the foreclosure counselors at Community Services Employment Training or C-Set meet with panicked people on the verge of foreclosure.

Paula Maestaz said, "They're stressed out because they're trying to figure out how to make this work ... they're they're sad at the thought of losing such a big investment."

C-Set provides free help to homeowners to try and avoid foreclosure. They have an over 90% success rate. Of more than 285 clients, only a handful didn't get their home loan modified through C-Set.

Maestaz said many people who come in already have a sale date. In 2009, she said the type of people who came in for help shifted from those who have adjustable rate mortgage to those who are dealing with the downturn in the economy and Tulare County's 16.5% unemployment rate.

"I believe it's over 60% of the people coming in here- their biggest issue is there's been a loss in income. There's either been a reduction in hours, people have actually lost their jobs," said Maestaz.

And C-Set Foreclosure Counselors may be even busier in 2010. RE/MAX Visalia broker and owner Ed Evans said they've been notified by the banks that there will likely be a jump in foreclosures during the first two quarters of 2010.

"We have been told that they've been holding off for the holiday and when the holidays are over then they'll start the eviction process and begin to hold their actual foreclosure sales," said Evans.

Evans said the first half of 2010 will likely be similar to that same time period last year when the number of foreclosures jumped. Federal programs eased last year's slide and Evans hopes a stronger economy will help soften the blow in 2010.

"I anticipate and hope that the programs that have been put into place to hold off the foreclosures and allow homeowners to keep their homes will lessen the number of foreclosures," said Evans.

Right now 70% of RE/MAX's sales are either short sales or foreclosures.

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